Danish police say they have been surprised to find that many of the illegal weapons supplied to the country’s gangs are coming from upstanding older gentlemen with no previous criminal record. Task Force East says several men over the age of 50 are suspected of using their gun licences to buy and sell on weapons to the criminal underground.
Current cases the special police unit are following include that of a 53-year-old man from Greve who is charged with supplying the Bandidos gang with 9mm pistols that were used against the rival Black Cobra gang. A 64-year-old from Grenaa is also accused of being part of a number of weapons exchanges, while a 69-year-old from Odsherred has already been found guilty of illegally selling on at least 10 weapons.
Police have confirmed that all those involved have either been members of shooting clubs, in the Danish National Guard or gun enthusiasts, although no weapons are thought to have come directly from clubs.
“The situation revolves around a number of men who have access to weapons, can obtain them and then sell them on to the gangs,” Magnus Andresen, an inspector for Task Force East, told Politiken. “We devoted our attention on the supply routes and that has uncovered the Danish market. It has been a surprise for us because we initially believed that the weapons mostly came from the foreign markets,” he added.
Morten Bødskov, Denmark’s justice minister, said the task force would now be expanded across the country due to its success. “We are stepping up efforts against organised crime by establishing Task Force West in Jutland. This method has proven to be right tool to get to grips with the often complicated criminal networks,” he told Politiken. “It’s a very serious crime and I am pleased with the efforts of Task Force East.”
The number of illegal weapons uncovered by Task Force East has been steady increasing over the last few years. Only 50 guns were seized in 2010, compared to 337 in 2011. So far this year, 350 have already been confiscated.